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U.S. stocks lower with Kraft Heinz and UnitedHealth in spotlight

Investing.com -

Investing.com - Wall Street traded lower on Friday as a recent rally ran out of steam and investors focused on company headlines.

At 11:10AM ET (16:10GMT), the Dow Jones fell 58 points, or 0.28%, the S&P 500 lost 5 points, or 0.22%, while the Nasdaq Composite traded down 3 points, or 0.05%.

Losses in the Dow were attributed mainly to the fact that while Donald Trump gave his first solo press conference as President late on Thursday, he concentrated his remarks on defense of his administration and attacks on journalistic coverage.

The appearance offered no further details of his planned fiscal policies and tax cuts, leaving investors concerned about the fact that the President will still need to get approval from the U.S. Congress for any action he plans to take to spur the economy.

In a session with no macro data ahead of a long weekend with markets closed next Monday for Washington's Birthday, investors found few excuses to continue pushing U.S. stocks higher.

In company news, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) led the Dow lower with losses of more than 4% as the U.S. Justice Department joined a lawsuit against the country's largest health insurer claiming that the firm and its units and affiliates overcharged Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars.

Also catching headlines, eyes were on Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) as Unilever (LON:ULVR) rejected its $143billion merger offer.

In big moves on earnings, Nu Skin Enterprises (NYSE:NUS) tumbled nearly 12% as the beauty and nutritional care products maker missed estimates and released a lower-than-expected guidance.

On the upside, Truecar (NASDAQ:TRUE) jumped nearly 9% as the car-buying website operator beat consensus and gave an upbeat forecast for the current quarter.

Meanwhile, oil prices traded lower on Friday, extending losses in what looked to be its first weekly decline in five weeks.

Crude chalked up losses this week as the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that U.S. stockpiles of crude and gasoline hit record highs.

Oil prices have been stuck in a narrow range around the lower-to-mid-$50s over the past two months as investors weigh the impact of cuts in supply from the historic OPEC/non-OPEC agreement against record stockpiles of crude and increased drilling activity in the United States.

On that last note, investors also looked ahead to the Baker Hughes U.S. rig count data for the latest week that will be released later on Friday.

The number of rigs operating in the U.S. in the prior week increased by 8 last week, the 14th gain in 15 weeks. At 591 active rigs, the count was at its highest since October 2015 and nearly double the figure seen seven months ago.

U.S. crude futures lost 0.64% to $53.02 by 11:11AM ET (16:11GMT), while Brent oil traded down 0.25% to $55.51.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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